Just a question and I’m not really sure if this is a big deal or will resonate with anybody or as usual this is just a figment of my vivid imagination.
Have you seen the TV commercials of the famous Dominos Pizza company where they are attempting to reinvent themselves, reconnect with their customers and actually get back to the good quality food all at the same time? Now to me, this is very effective and if I were upset with them in the first place (which I never was-I don’t eat pizza much) I would be inclined to give them another try. In fact, I may just make a special trip by a store just to check it out to see what all the hub bub is about-I guess it’s working already. So this of course got me to think about pest control and specifically pest control business.
Pest Control Is Unique
Pest control service is to me, unique in that it is fraught with problems and customers are on the brink of being unsatisfied if they aren’t already. Please read my story Pest Control Is A Complaint Business to see what I mean. A good company realizes this, consciously makes plans, decisions and has policies in place to be ready for the eventual unhappiness BEFORE it results in a cancelation or worse yet, a bad referral. Now if your entire company is in a free fall like the Dominos Pizza people found themselves in and the ship is going down perhaps you need more than this article to help you out. If however you’re like me or maybe even somewhat agree with my point of view this may be just the thoughts that’ll plug up some holes in your boat.
Do You Have A Plan For Disgruntled Customers?
Oh of course we as an industry have our standard ‘free complaint service’ which I simply detest but how does this really help and what else can we possibly do? Do we use the time to re-educate a customer who already wasn’t listening? Do we try something different after we’ve already crawled the attic 3 times, bought a special bait that didn’t work, re-sprayed, dusted, and exhausted everything we could possibly think of? More importantly what do we say to the customer as our reputation slips each time we’re called back out? While 95% of the time this scenario is not even on the radar, if you’ve been in the industry any length of time and as your route or company grows YOU WILL find the other 5% and they can and will drain you of a lot of time and energy unless you’re prepared.
Now as hypocritical as it sounds, I too offer the free complaint service but I don’t hesitate to tack on a charge for something like a power spray, bait stations or perhaps a new product I don’t usually stock. Nothing crazy mind you but it’s amazing how quickly a HUGE problem is suddenly something they can live with or a client who wouldn’t give two hoots about your sanitation or proofing spiel is now all ears. Secondly and this is important- I evaluate if indeed I did everything I should have in my service. The next sentence is only visible if you hit the ‘caps lock button–it’s a secret button no one knows about, shhhh.’
Look, just between you & me, no one else can see this-I get in a hurry too; running behind, bad day, calls waiting, office bugging the crap out of me etc. etc. So there are times when I do a visit and bait 3/4’s of what I should or put off doing the attic or just whatever–it happens. Ok, hit the caps lock button again.
I know when somethings missing & I can see it when I go out on a call that one of my techs have done or someone from another company. So, when I see this, regardless of my time situation I dive in and get that bugger done from scratch as hard and as thorough as effective and fast as I can. In other words I tear the place apart like a crime scene investigator would until I get to the nub and get the client back on the road to recovery, NO EXCUSES. If you take the time, ask enough questions, think critically I believe you can solve just about every problem. In my career I have failed and in evaluating the times I have I can almost always point to a time early in the problem where I just didn’t do enough and of those times it’s usually something so simple. There is so much more I could write here but I’d love to hear your thoughts, I’ll finish with this.
I find that my most troublesome accounts are the ones where somewhere along the line something wasn’t done or anticipated. It is always so difficult to play catch up and even more difficult to come out a winner even if you get the result you wanted. The customer has either lost some confidence in you, your staff or they are now convinced that some of your herculean efforts (ie; dusting the attic or power spraying the perimeter) is something that should be done every time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, what’s your plan, do you have one or is this something you even think about?
To me it’s a no brainer and at this point in my career I never let it go & just walk on by. You should have a system in place, something you fall back on as well because it’s hard to stop domino’s, once they start falling.